Fauci: Wear mask, stay distant to avoid lockdown

Coronavirus

FILE – In this July 30, 2020, file photo, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, right, listens as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a roundtable on donating plasma at the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington. A new poll finds Americans’ trust in the people and institutions giving them information about coronavirus has fallen across the board. The poll USAFacts and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research on where America gets its COVID-19 facts shows that trust of many people and groups is down significantly from what it was in April. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, file)

WASHINGTON (AP) –Dr. Anthony Fauci says he doesn’t believe the United States will need to go into lockdown to fight the coronavirus if people double down on wearing masks and social distancing.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert says “the cavalry is coming” in the form of vaccines. He says, “Help is really on the way.”

Fauci told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday that vaccines being developed “are going to have a major positive impact” once they start being deployed in December and early into next year. He says he hopes by April, May and June “the ordinary citizen should be able to get” a vaccine.

In the meantime, Fauci says there are fundamental things Americans can do to stem the spread of the deadly virus. They include “universal and uniform” wearing of masks, avoiding crowds, keeping social distance and washing hands. He says that sounds simple against a very difficult challenge but “it really does make a difference.”

Fauci’s message echoes that of President-elect Joe Biden, who this week signaled strongly that fighting the raging pandemic will be the immediate priority of his new administration.

The U.S. leads the world with more than 241,000 deaths and 10 million coronavirus cases.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— World leaders speak to Biden about the pandemic even as Trump complicates transition

— Italian hospitals face breaking point as fall virus surge sickens patients

— California is nearing 1 million confirmed infections, the second US state after Texas

— The last virus-free places on Earth are one distant continent, a few Pacific island nations and two highly secretive states

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